Our Testimonies...God is working in our lives!
Our Catholic Faith Life Journey
This August, we will have been married for 25 years. Twenty five years ago when we decided to get married it was not up for discussion where the ceremony would take place, it had to be in the Roman Catholic Church. Deborah is a cradle Roman Catholic and I was baptized Anglican but had never really practiced my faith, so wasn't really an issue for me. We have to admit though that after we got married, practicing our faith fell by the wayside for both of us. We got caught up in our new married life and work. A few years later we were blessed with our first child, a son, and our first instinct was to have him baptized and brought into the Church. Children have a way of bringing you back to God, especially when they have medical issues, you turn to God for strength and guidance. We have been blessed with three wonderful and amazing children, we have tried to raise them according to God's word, bringing them to Church, teaching them how to be better Christians, praying for them daily that they will always walk closely with God, protected and blessed by Him. Thankfully, because of our encouraging them to be active members of the Church, they have willingly served on the altar and the girls are now happily singing in the choir. Granted in the early years, I always thought my role was to be the provider for the family and Deborah was to be the nurturer and teacher. I was accepting that Deborah was responsible for everything house and I was responsible for everything work. But children need both parents to guide them. I have to admit, in my desire to be a better role model for them I have done my own soul searching. I came to church to show support for my family, to enforce the need for God in my children's life but never truly considered how He played a part in my own. The girls, after they had received the sacrament of First Communion, always used to ask me why am I not following them to partake of the Eucharist, and I used to just brush it aside thinking I didn't need to, I was only at church to support them.
So Dad had to step up to the plate if he wanted to really be the true leader of the family. Happy to say I joined R.C.I.A. last year and in learning about the Catholic faith I am beginning to understand the desire of my family for me to be a part of their faith, to truly belong to the Church. Deborah is not a confirmed Catholic so we are taking the RCIA journey together and that has brought us closer together and allowed us to focus on God's word and will, especially in every day life and our marriage. It has given us a deeper understanding as to our commitment to each other. God works in His own time, I don't think I would have been as receptive 10 years ago. I am now willing to work through my faith to find the answers to my questions. Don't imagine that our marriage is perfect, we have our ups and downs, good days and bad, our disagreements and agreements, our marriage is a work in progress. Lots of work and just like our faith, you need to be committed to it, but with God present in it and learning now that He really should be at the center, you have the love and joy to weather anything, you find the strength to work through problems, patience to listen and learn from your spouse, mercy and forgiveness to survive any situation, and tolerance to accept the person you have promised to love, honor and respect till death do us part. I regret not starting this spiritual journey earlier in my life, as I believe that my family would have benefited much more in knowing God better, but better later than never and I am working hard to learn all that I can and be an example for them to follow and be good practicing Christians. I have developed a wish to read the Bible with my family, for us to discuss and understand God's word better. I am learning that attending Church alone is not enough and that my family needs to get involved more in our community and all the other stuff that Father speaks to us about every week.
So as my family continues this journey I look forward to any advice from other families and likewise we are available to share ours with any looking for support. God is love and I love the family he has given to me and I know with Him at the center, my family will always know love and overcome any obstacle placed by Satan and pass any test of faith. May God bless all of you and thanks for your patience in listening to me.
Christopher Cargill and Family
Marriage as a Vocation
Three very important points come to mind as the reasons why I am so proud to be a Roman Catholic . The Mass, the Rosary, and Service, particularly to the poor and marginalized.
I was raised in a devout Roman Catholic home, and attended Catholic Prep and High schools. My tutors were mostly priests and nuns. After High School some of my friends moved to other denominations or stopped attending church, saying that the Mass was too ritualistic, or boring. I persevered. Briefly highlighted below are the three of the main reasons why I am a proud Roman Catholic:
1. The Eucharist: I got married to a non catholic and after a while I decided to attend my mother in law’s church from time to time. The services were wonderful, the singing, the fellowship and the sermons were awesome. However after the service I felt empty, and actually though I went to a concert. I realized then that it was the absence of the Eucharist. After that I started attending seminars and workshops to gain as much knowledge of the Mass as I could. I learned that every single part of the Mass had significant meaning. I started to concentrate and focus more deeply at Mass and now I experience so much joy when I receive the body and blood of Christ in Holy Communion.
2. The Rosary: Saying my rosary practically every day is a must. Most Catholics don’t say the Rosary as they say it’s too repetitious. In recent years I have been saying the scriptural rosary, although it takes a little longer, but what joy and peace it brings to know that I am reliving the birth, suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus on a daily basis. Many of my prayers have been answered through Mary’s intercession.
3. Service: As a child I was always very amazed at how kind my parents, the nuns and priests were to the poor and marginalized. I too was giving but not anywhere as compassionate as they were, plus having a very demanding job after High School there was not much time for volunteerism.
Sometime in the late 1990’s I did the Life in the Spirit seminar and after much tears and resistance at the praying over I got the gift of joy and my faith grew stronger. I decided I wanted to be in service to the Lord full time, I felt it was time for me to give back totally. It’s been 16 years and I have been so blessed, I have never wanted or needed anything. In fact at times I ask God why he is so good to me, even through trials and tribulations, I feel him close at my side.
The joy I get is immeasurable to anything else in the world. As Roman Catholics our services to the poor and needy is unbiased. We try to do what Jesus tells us. “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brethren that you have done to me”.
St. Andrew, Jamaica
One of my greatest joys as a Roman Catholic is that I am able to partake in the Sacrament of the Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Jesus, and that I can spend time in His presence in Eucharistic Adoration as often as I desire or need to do so.
When I receive the Body and Blood of Jesus in Holy Communion I am filled with gratitude, love, reverence and awe for my Saviour and my King and for the sacrifice He endured for the salvation of my soul.
The overwhelming peace that I feel when I am in His presence restores my soul and elevates my spirit. My cares, my fears, my anxieties and doubts are reduced to insignificance and my faith, hope and trust in the Lord are renewed and strengthened.
In His calming and peaceful presence, I am reminded and assured that I am chosen, blessed, loved and forgiven by my Creator, my God.
I am Roman Catholic and grateful, thankful and proud to be a member of a faith that believes in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.
St. Andrew, Jamaica
Not raised in a Roman Catholic household my earliest influences came from my wife, Rowena and the Emmanuel prayer group. The look of joy and contentment I noticed when my wife returned from Sunday mass or a weekly prayer meeting was something that I knew deep down was missing from life. Having become a Catholic for more than 30+ years now I too can attest to the joys, peace and the feeling of contentment I experience on receiving the Sacraments and hearing the Word.
St. Andrew, Jamaica
My experience of growing up as a Catholic has been a constant reminder that God has been with me and He continues to be with me in every aspect of my life, whether in good times or bad. My parents were not Catholic, but my mother baptized me Catholic (through my god-mother) and she always expressed deep love, reverence and respect for the Faith. Being Catholic has afforded me the opportunity of sharing in the Eucharist, experiencing the gift of the Holy Spirit in the Sacrament of Confirmation and experiencing Christ’s love for us and the Church through the Sacrament of marriage. As I continue to learn and grow in the Faith, I have developed a greater bond, not only with my family but also with many of my parishioners. Being Catholic, to me, means being shepherded by the Church; a community which seeks mainly to draw me into a closer relationship with God, to help me to work on my relationship with my brothers and sisters and to work on my salvation.
St. Andrew, Jamaica
The Catholic church because of its teachings makes me realize how important it is to be aware of others less fortunate and try in whatever way possible to help. Life will never be fair and there will never be a level playing field, so extending His Mercy is a wonderful way for me to experience His love.
St. Andrew, Jamaica
“I was not a born and bred Roman Catholic (or as some say a “cradle Catholic). However, I had friends who were and from whom I could observe from a distance some of the tenets of the Church. One of the things that initially drew me to the faith was the demonstration of works of mercy through the various outreach Ministries. (Probably why it resonated so strongly with me is that I kept hearing my mother’s voice that “Faith without Works is dead”). I admire that it was not just a Church of strong Faith but also a Church of Works.
Having become a confirmed Roman Catholic over 8 years ago and part of the Stella Maris family, I feel a sense of community in the church through the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. I appreciate that this celebration is available with daily frequency.
My faith is strengthened knowing that the Roman Catholic Church, through the authority given by Christ to his Disciple Peter, is The Church that was formed through this authority and with this incredible history, I always feel a sense of awe and humility each time I come before the tabernacle and the Blessed Sacrament.
I like structure and tradition in worship and the moments of silence that allow reflection during the mass. Having visited a number of other denominations, the Roman Catholic Church is the only church where I feel at home in achieving this”.
St. Andrew, Jamaica
I could cite many reasons as to why I am proud to be a Catholic but I will confine my reasons to the spiritual and historical.
Our faith is rich in history and steeped in tradition. Our beliefs are founded on principles that have emanated from Jesus Christ himself. While other denominations base their beliefs on man-made doctrine, we receive the teachings of Jesus Christ directly as we are the one True and Rightful church here on earth. Historically, our beliefs form as the basis for modern day life and have led to the building of many great civilizations. We, as Catholics are comforted in the fact that our beliefs and faith are strong and rooted in years of tradition going back to the founder of our Church, Jesus Christ and not of a man who is a follower of Christ.
Our prayers are powerful and directed at what exactly it is that we want and need as well as thanking God for his mercy and forgiveness. We need not look further than our prayers to enjoy the peace of God’s Mercy and Forgiveness as well as his power to grant us our needs.
These are the reasons why I am proud to be a Catholic.
St. Andrew, Jamaica
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